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What Cookies are On My Website and How to Find Out

by Samirah Roye


No... not that kind...


Have you ever noticed the prompts you get upon visiting a website for the first time, asking you to accept or reject the cookie policy before you can access the webpage?


Ever wondered why websites use cookies and why the cookie monster was so invested in your web browsing activities?


Perhaps you’re in a rush and don’t have time to look at the small print and figure out what exactly it is your agreeing to. If that’s the case, you have come to the right place!


Building a website and showcasing your business and brand can be an exciting and creative processes! However in order to make the most of your website and ensure you are compliment with digital laws, understanding cookies and how they function are an important step in building your online presence.


In this article I will guide you through the basic uses of cookies on a website and answer your key questions such as:


· What are cookies?

· What cookies are on my website?

· Are cookies good or bad?


What are cookies?


Cookies are small files used by websites, to store and monitor fragments of information about you. These files are known as HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) cookies and they work by sending data between a server and web browser.


Cookies are used to help improve your experience when visiting a website. The transfer of information allows a web page to remember who you are, what you put in your shopping basket, your login information and much more!


There are two main categories that cookies fall into, known as, first party and third party cookies.


First party cookies are stored directly by the website you are visiting. These cookies help to provide a smooth and personalised experience for a user, for example keeping you logged in and remembering your contact detail when filling in an online form.


First party cookies can also be useful to the website owner to store analytics and understand how users interact with their website, via tools such as google analytics.


Third party cookies send information to websites other than the site you are visiting. Cookies such as these are often used in advertising and by social networks to track what you are doing, even when you are not directly on their website.


Have you ever visited an online store, added your desired products to the basket but not gone through to check out as you wanted to explore your options?


Well after doing so and having a scroll on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, did you perhaps see a sponsored advertisement recommending you the same or a similar product to the one you left behind? If yes, it looks like third party cookies played a hand in connecting the dots back to you via personalised ads.


What Cookies are on my website?


As mentioned in the introduction, when visiting a web page for the first time we are prompted to accept a websites cookie policy before being given full access to the site. In some cases, you will also have the option to opt-in or opt-out, deciding which cookies you chose to allow a website access to, regarding your data.


It is required under law in the United Kingdom through the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations to allow individuals to refuse the use of cookies.


There are several free and paid services available to perform cookie auditing services on any website. These tools allow you to see a breakdown of what cookies are present on a website and a breakdown on how they are used e.g., first party or third party.


Some examples include:

www.cookieserve.com

www.cookiebot.com


Are cookies good or bad?


Like most things involving personal data, there are pros and cons associated with the use of cookies, however cookies are not inherently bad.


Cookies are now used consistently and robustly across the internet. They are a key tool in providing functionality to websites and smooth and easy accessibility for users.


Although rejecting the use of cookies is an option to you as a user and required by law, it could subsequently mean you won’t be able to use all features on a website or even access them in some cases.


It is also important to note that disallowing cookies from a website does not mean you won’t see any adverts when visiting a site. If it is adverts that are of your concern, the use of an ad blocker may help limited the number of adverts sent you way.


Did you know that our creative web design team at Dimension Creative build fantastic websites? Better yet, all the websites we use are built with cookies in mind to ensure you're ready to go from day one. Speak with our web developers today:


www.dimensioncreative.co.uk/web-design-suffolk


References


https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/cookies

https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/12/10/18656519/what-are-cookies-website-tracking-gdpr-privacy

https://www.pandasecurity.com/en/mediacenter/security/are-cookies-bad/

https://www.cookielawinfo.com/does-my-website-use-cookies/

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTTP/Cookies

https://cookie-script.com/all-you-need-to-know-about-third-party-cookies.html

https://www.cookielaw.org/the-cookie-law/

https://www.cookielaw.org/cookie-audit/

https://www.cookielaw.org/optanon-eprivacy/

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